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Three things we learned in the Premier League

LONDON, United Kingdom, May 10 – Manchester City’s Premier League title party was put on hold as the leaders lost to fellow Champions League finalists Chelsea on Saturday.

A day later, Manchester United extended City’s wait to be crowned champions with their latest second half fightback at Aston Villa.

Liverpool climbed back in the top four race after Leicester and West Ham stumbled.

AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:

Man City given warning by Chelsea

Manchester City were forced to postpone their title celebrations, for a few days at least, after Chelsea fired a warning ahead of the Champions League final with a 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday

Pep Guardiola’s side could have wrapped up their third title in four seasons with a victory against Chelsea and they were on course after Raheem Sterling put them ahead in the first half.

But Sergio Aguero wasted a chance to double the lead when his ‘Panenka’ penalty was saved by Edouard Mendy.

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Chelsea made Aguero pay in the second half as Hakim Ziyech equalised before Marcos Alonso turned in the winner in stoppage-time.

City, 10 points clear at the top, are still sure to lift the title eventually, but the loss was concerning given Chelsea lie in wait in the Champions League in Istanbul on May 29.

Guardiola can point to the nine changes he made, but Chelsea have now beaten City twice under Thomas Tuchel this season after knocking them out of the FA Cup semi-finals.

Sterling remains positive, saying: “The final in the Champions League will be a completely different game and I’m sure we’ll get over the line in that one.”

Man Utd fight back again

It is surely too late for Manchester United to steal the title away from Manchester City, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side are developing into serious challengers for next season.

United came from behind to win in the league for the 10th time this season — setting a competition record for a single season — as Villa were beaten 3-1 on Sunday thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani.

Bertrand Traore’s superb strike had given the hosts an early lead at Villa Park, but United refused to be deterred and Solskjaer says their spirited revival proves they have the character to be successful.

Second placed United are on the brink of back-to-back top-four finishes for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired, but it is the title they really want.

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“I believe in the boys and I think they believe in themselves,” Solskjaer said.

“The players are learning, developing as a group. They’re getting better. The spirit, the camaraderie, they back each other.”

Liverpool back in top four race

Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to sprint to the finish line in the race to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.

Klopp’s side improved their prospects of catching fourth placed Leicester as they climbed to sixth after beating Southampton 2-0 on Saturday.

Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara — with his first goal for the club — sealed only Liverpool’s second league win at Anfield in 2021.

It wasn’t a dominant display from Liverpool, who were indebted to Alisson Becker for several crucial saves.

But with Leicester losing 4-2 against Newcastle and fifth placed West Ham beaten 1-0 by Everton, the battle for top four places is heading for a photo finish.

Klopp has challenged his players to win their last four games against Manchester United, West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

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“It’s not impossible but it’s difficult. We will give it a try and see where we get to,” Klopp said.

“Our situation changed slightly but only for us, for the other teams not too much because they are still in a better position.

“The only thing we can do is keep winning our games, but that’s really tough because we play Manchester United on Thursday and that’s historically not easy.”

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